Knowing your child’s learning style can help you choose better curriculum.
Combination Learning Style
There are many different learning styles, and most people are not one single style but a combination of two or more styles. Children learn best when they are present with instruction through flexible combination of learning material of two or more learning styles. So, if a child is a combination of visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic learner then the use of a multisensory approach curriculum to teach this child will use more than one sense to gain learning outcomes. Multisensory approach employs visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and tactile learning. But if your child is an auditory and social learner then they will benefit better through discussion, lectures and group learning. Tailoring the needs of your child and choosing curriculum that suit your child’s learning will allow children to achieve better learning outcomes.
These are children that learn best when information is presented through visual methods. In using visual information like images, pictures, colours, computers, graphs, charts, diagrams and other visual media to the child, they absorb information better than by the means of auditory, kinaesthetic etc. These learners would prefer to watch a video to retain information so when they would like to learn how to fix a computer, they watch a YouTube video rather than listening to someone explaining the process. They learn best when they see want, they are learning as they take a picture or make videos within their head of the subject they are learning. Wherever possible, learning should be presented to the child in visual means to allow the child to retain this information. So, if you what to teach spelling sounds of the alphabet, present the letter on cards, allow the child to draw a picture on the back that relates to them to the sound the letter makes. This will allow the child to make a connection of their picture they have drawn to the letter sound so they can transfer into their long-term memory. So, when they can’t remember the sound, showing the picture can trigger long-term memory of the picture, that relates to that sound and allow the child to recall the sound. Visual learners tend to write down information (taking notes) as they are learning, this helps them retain learnt information. So, the use of diagrams that are visually organised information like mind maps can help children show the relationships and connections about concepts. When you combine mind maps with other visual medias like computers and information technology then child can visually see concepts better.
These learners depend on hearing sounds and speaking as the way they process their information. Speaking out a problem in Maths can help them find the solutions in equations. They find it harder to learn through the means of written instruction unless it's clearly in logical order (bullet points). Learning is best through hearing words spoken or musical tunes or songs as they are good listeners. Auditory learners can listen to audible signals (change in tone) and see the meaning of a person’s words. They can memorise through listening and say back the information out loud to remember how it sounded and then be able to recall this information. When reading a text, it can be almost impossible for these learners to comprehend without background sound. Having background noise can help these learners to retain better. When they listen to music or tv as background noise, these children tend to work better and retain information. You will see these learners talk to themselves (moving lips) to recall knowledge and complete projects. The use of verbal instructions, group conversations, reading aloud, rhythmic patterns like poems, songs, music, verses, jingles, rimes or stories used in teaching can help these children to retain and learn information. In teaching mathematic concepts for multiplication, songs can be used to help retain this information for auditory learners rather than rote learning.
This is a learning style where the learner needs to have movement in order to process information. Other names it’s referred to is tactile, hand-on or physical learning. Within this style of learning there are different kinds of learners due to how the learner memory systems responds. If a child is a whole-body learner they learn better through role-play, performance, puzzles as it allows body movement while learning. These children can engage in dance, drama and sport activities that allows them to move their whole-body to allow better learning outcomes. Where if a child is more a doodler, then the use of a pen to draw while learning will allow the child to move these ideas into procedural motor pathways. Again, as we spoke in visual learners, mind maps can be a useful tool for these learners. They can gain connections about concepts or subjects as they are using their hands to make these mind maps with paper and pen. Or if a child is a hands-on learner, then doing experiments in a lab for science can achieve understanding more than just reading a book about the subject. So, experiments within a lab can allow these students to move their hands and bodies to find outcomes by physically doing the work. The child who learns creativity through feelings or emotions, then dance, drama, debate, discussion and role-play can help encourage learning. This learning style when done well can allow learning to transfer to long-term memory since it is associated emotions (anger, dissatisfaction, delight, enthusiasm and success etc.). Emotions is one sense that strongly enhance learning when used positively as it increases interest curiosity, wonder, passion, creativity, engagement and joy. These actively reward the brain to make the experience advantageous and assist in concentration and attention. Which in turn extends their outlook, see alternatives, continue through challenges and responds positively to criticism and disappointments.
Social learners are children who observe other people's behaviours to process their learning. It allows these children to obtain new skills by watching what people are doing within their surroundings. This interaction allows the learner to construct meaning and self-awareness about what they are learning. When a child starts learning a new behaviour they first observe, then process this information to apply this new behaviour. Some environments that promote social learning are schools, media, family, neighbours, sporting communities and friends. If we first think about when a child is born, a child’s first interactions are social. They look at their parents to copy what they do; this is how they form their first words. Children watch their parents' behaviours, even copying them from washing dishes, repeating words or phrases said etc. For it to be considered socially it must demonstrate change in learning that has taken place in the child and that social interactions and processes between people within their social community.
These learners can learn and recall information through the words they hear. They excel at the written word and often are authors. So why is this child not Auditory learners? These learners have an edge as they learn with both written and spoken words, so it makes them different, where auditory learners are only through hearing. Children who are these learners tend to do well in traditional subjects such as reading, spelling and writing. When spoken or written materials are used these children prefer these over visual medias. Activities based around language will give better learning outcomes. So, when presenting a Maths concept, they prefer its content in written form, then apposed to solving equations. When planning a child's learning consider that the use of either written or word language is used as this is where these children will excel in their learning. This is because they are generally good listeners with a good long-term memory for retaining spoken words as well a strong recall for spoken words. In fact, these learners enjoy learning language and new words, exploring new ways in which to use it into stories, poems, songs etc. Foreign languages will also interest them as well games centered around language and literacy. These learners will do well in testing as they have ability to quickly respond to spoken or written exams. Tasks like hand-eye coordination or visual-spatial tasks can be an issue for these children. As well visual information can be hard for these children to interpret like reading charts, graphs or understanding mind-maps.
These learners think in a logical and sequential way about Mathematics, so they tend to enjoy numbers. problem solving, equations and puzzles. Children who are high in logical mathematics tend to be good problem solvers as they can think in logical or linear order. Areas they can be strong in is categorisation, classification, pattern recognition, problem-solving, visual analysis and abstract concepts. These children enjoy computer science, Mathematics, technology, design, chemistry and other science fields and can excel in areas of computer science (soft & hardware), robots, electronic designs and computer applications. This is because they enjoy bringing these mathematical concepts and theoretical thoughts into real life designs to apply them into hands-on assignments. Your child may prefer to create statistical data and create diagrams, charts, grids and timelines than reading fictional books. Games like chess or science kits that use experimentation will engage these children to gain connections in learning. Using visual medias, computers, hands-on activities will best suit this learning style with an organised program based on mathematical rational and logic with learning defined goals. For example, when teaching how to build bridge designs, the use of straws or building blocks with clear methods for these children will allow better outcomes versus drawing the design without aids. In group projects these children may lead in setting agendas, goals, lists, step into a sequence, troubleshooting problems, data reports and keep progress of the group.
Solitary or an intrapersonal learner is the opposite of social learners. These are learners who enjoy independent study without the need to ask questions or talk to someone in group learning to be able learn information. They prefer little distraction to complete activities and tasks as independent study is the key for these children. Make sure all assigned work for your child is complete and ready for them to start so they can complete the tasks at hand with little distraction. Unclear expectations can be frustrating for these learners as they have good self-management skills to complete task without very little help. Many curriculums will include learning objectives for each lesson, or you will need to set these for each project or written assignment. They learn through solving their own problems and finding conclusions and can become frustrated when working with others. Especially when they have not come to the end of the task or activity and the answers are revealed before they have been able to consider through their own ideas. In group learning they can suffer from “I’ll do it myself” syndrome. These children are good in self-management, know their strengths and weaknesses and more confident in working alone rather than relying on others. Solitary learners enjoy silent or independent reading, assignments, journaling, experiments or any other writing projects. They can find conclusions through dialogue and therefore independent study works best for these learners. The word intrapersonal means “relating to or within a person’s mind” but this doesn’t mean the child must work completely alone. All learners benefit from another person nearby as they study, even if there is no conversation. Solitary learners need time to think about theories, ideas and concepts before discussion so to allow time for them to develop these ideas. Allow independent study options rather than in group conversations. Rather than reading out their work allow them to read back their work to themselves, complete projects, or tasks unaided, memorise information alone. As an educator you will need to encourage this child to ask questions when you can see if there is a need as the child may avoid asking all together. These learners require walking through each step of completing the task at hand or activity before starting each project. Lecture style teaching offers these children to work through their note taking after classes, that allows them more time to think through concepts and thoughts and allows them to consider new ideas. Note taking can be a valuable tool for these learners as it gives them a reference for study and research and doesn’t involve group activities. Other options for learning are pre-recorded video lessons this approach has limited or no interaction and gives the child time for independent learning time. Group projects teaches important skills like collaboration, co-operation, communication, and teamwork so doing at least one session per term can develop these skills. Journaling can be away to give these children a voice for their ideas and thoughts which in turn will give confidence. It is essential that these writings remain private or have limited evaluation, so it gives the child the independence to work with their own ideas.